O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
You are here because you’re thirsty. So am I. I’m so thirsty, and together we long for living water. We long for an authentic encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, but also in one another.
What does it mean to encounter Christ? What does that encounter look like? What does it feel like? Does it feel like a cool drink of water? A light shining in darkness? Kind words calling us to rise, to awake from our slumber. A whispered, be not afraid.
The next section of From Ash to Water focuses on three stories that help us understand our encounter with Jesus: The Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-42), The Man Born Blind (Jn 9:1-41), and The Raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-41). Each of these Sunday readings features a predominant symbol for Christ: Water. Light. Life. As a reader, writer, and literature teacher, I’m always moved by the the beauty of our Catholic liturgy and this deliberate unfolding of our story with God during Lent, for these particular encounter stories in the lectionary are intended to call us deeper to conversion and prepare us for the promise of Easter. Fr. Luis says in From Ash to Water,
Water, light, and life. This encounter is the beginning of a new path in their lives. For us, on our path from ash to water, these three encounters are a reminder of our baptism. (115)
These stories invite us, then, not only to receive Christ as the Samaritan Woman did at the well, but to live out our baptismal promises, becoming Christ for others. You know those baptismal promises, don’t you?
Reject Satan. And all his works. And all his empty promises.
Can’t you just see our pastor with his binder open walking down the center aisle reciting them to us right now, a bowl of water and a sprig of rosemary at the ready? I think he would forgive me for offering this little revision to those ancient words we recite together at Easter when I say,
To carry water. To shine light. To give hope.
Have you ever experienced dire thirst, either literally or spiritually? How did you get into that situation and how did you make your way back to water?
When recently have you found yourself becoming Christ for others? Water ♥ Light ♥ Life
Take a few minutes to read the gospel story of the Samaritan Woman. Can you imagine encountering Christ at the well? Sit there with him, listening. What truth about your own life would he tell you? What are you carrying that’s weighing you down? Are you ready to surrender this burden and accept in its place his love and forgiveness?
♥ I’m thirsty for you! Drop me an email or leave a comment to let me know how your Lenten Journey is going? Are you rediscovering what sustains and nourishes you, what fills your well and waters your fields? I long to hear your story and know you.
P R A Y E R
This week we pray for living water. We all thirst, and we offer gratitude to God for his healing love and mercy. We give thanks for the Samaritan Woman, who by her encounter with Jesus became living water for others. And as we encounter Jesus, let us also be touched by his love and share it with our brothers and sisters. May we find the courage and compassion desperately needed in our communities, so thirsting for God’s love. Help us become living vessels, carrying this love to others, especially those most in need of our kindness.
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!
~ Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2015
If you don’t already keep a prayer journal, maybe this Lent you’d consider experimenting with this rewarding spiritual practice. Find a special pen and a lovely notebook and copy the prayer onto a blank page, to keep and reflect on later.
Whenever you’re ready, click on the green link to read these beautiful spiritual affirmations for the upcoming week: “Thirst: God’s Desire for Me” and “I Thirst.”